Crime Stats: When A High Number Is a Good Number.

Each month MPD produces what is called the “Consolidated Incident Report.” This is our complete statistical report for all offenses and calls for service for the month. It is compared with the previous year (monthly) and also includes our clearance rate (solvability.) Kudos to the MPD Records Division for cranking this out for us month after month. It is most appreciated and much needed. We use this as a measuring stick, and as a deployment guide for our resources.

While an increase in certain offenses is serious cause for concern……and we work towards stemming those tides as soon as possible…..there are some high numbers that are actually good for the Department and the greater Medford community.

What numbers do I like to see higher than lower? Self-initiated cases by our Officers that have a direct impact on community safety. These are crimes such as DUII, Drug Offenses, and most Weapons Offenses. A community that supports public safety will reap the benefits from quality self-initiated activity. These violators are out there, it just depends on whether you want or can spend the time to find/arrest them. It takes a certain a mount of “non-committed time” to accomplish this, and some agencies don’t have that available to them. It is also a matter of priority and personnel. If you have the personnel to accomplish this, then it has to become a department priority for it to become the norm for that agency.

I’m not saying that there is an endless number of certain offenses/offenders in any given jurisdiction. What I am saying is that you can use statistical reports over a longer period of time to determine what your avg. of such offenses should be…such as DUII. DUII”s are out there, in larger numbers than most people realize. Consistent DUII enforcement, over time, will get you to the number that is consistent with the community in which you serve. We use the statistics for all offenses to not only track our success, but assist us in our deployment focus as well.

If you want crime numbers to go down immediately…..a community could just lay off Police Officers. Josephine County is a good example of that. Without anyone there to take the report, the stat does not get recorded. When no self-initiated activity occurs, those crimes previously mentioned go undetected and overall community safety suffers.

Healthy communities support public safety to reasonable levels. Such levels allow for Officers to have some level of self-initiated activity. Crime prevention actually occurs as the DUII is arrested prior to the crash, weapons violators are arrested prior to the crime they are about to commit, and the drug offender is arrested prior to additional drug distribution. This really is police work 101. Self-initiated activity on the part of Law Enforcement is crime prevention at its finest.

There are “good numbers” in certain “high numbers” when it comes to crime statistics. Not all such increases are bad news. I am fortunate to live in a community that understands this concept and supports public safety. I am also fortunate to work with all those at MPD that work very hard to maintain that support.

Tim George
Chief of Police

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